Child and Family Development (Birth-K), Graduate Certificate

Child and Family Development (Birth-K), Graduate Certificate
21 Credit Hours
Admits: Fall, Spring & Summer
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Program Tabs


The Graduate Certificate in Child and Family Development combines web-based instruction, face-to-face instruction, and clinical experiences to prepare students to demonstrate their readiness for the North Carolina Standard Professional 1 (SP1) Professional Educator’s License. Once admitted, apply for the Teacher Preparation Grant Powered by PNC Grow Up Great.

Who would benefit from this program?

  • For working professionals who have earned a bachelor’s degree outside of education, hybrid and online coursework prepares students for success in the early childhood classroom. The program can be completed in as few as four semesters, culminating in a 15-week student teaching experience. Current teachers may complete student teaching in their own classroom if it is in a public school, North Carolina Pre-K, Head Start, or MECK Pre-K.

What can I expect to learn in this program?

  • Students complete a variety of clinical experiences in diverse settings, so they are prepared to teach in rural, urban or suburban schools. During these experiences, students apply research and/or evidence-based practices gained in coursework, analyze birth through kindergarten student learning, and develop the ability to impact children in a positive way.
  • A six semester-hour internship is required for graduate certificate students.  This internship is the culminating experience of the certificate program, offering students the opportunity to demonstrate their readiness for the North Carolina Standard Professional 1 (SP1) Educator’s License.  Students are assigned to a classroom for a full-time semester-long experience under the supervision of the classroom teacher and university faculty.

Application Deadlines: 

  • August 1 (fall)
  • December 1 (spring)
  • May 1 (summer first half term)

Admissions & Requirement:

  • Complete the Graduate School Admission Application.
  • A bachelor’s degree (in a related field) from a university accredited by a US Department of Education-recognized institutional accreditor.
  • A cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.7 (If you do not have at least a 2.7 GPA, please see our GPA Forgiveness process).
  • Statement of purpose indicating reasons for seeking the graduate certificate.
  • Two online professional recommendations coming from individuals in a supervisory capacity (i.e. principal or manager) and/or academic reference (i.e. professor).
  • A clear criminal background check, which will be requested after application submission. The cost of this will start at $18 and could take 2-4 weeks to be processed. Please note your application cannot move forward until this step is complete.
  • The online Graduate Certificate Program requires classroom observation hours to be completed in the state of North Carolina.

Fall courses:

  • CHFD 5100: Development: Prenatal to Pre-Adolescence (3)
  • CHFD 6200: Curriculum and Learning Environments for Young Children (3)
  • CHFD 6205: Integrated Instructional Applications in Child and Family Development (3 or 6)

Spring courses:

  • CHFD 5250: Assessment of Young Children (3)
  • CHFD 6230: Emerging Literacy and Mathematical Understanding (3)
  • CHFD 6400*: Student Teaching Seminar: B-K Child and Family Development (6) (taken in the last semester)

Summer course:

  • CHFD 6110: Family-Professional Partnerships (3)

*This final course is a full-time internship. It requires application and approval during the semester prior to the internship.

The NC State Board of Education requires that B-K candidates demonstrate content mastery with 24 relevant credit hours. Contact the Office of Teacher Education Advising and Licensure for assistance with determining relevant credit hours.

Internship/Student Teaching
  • The graduate-level student teaching/internship is the culminating experience of the Graduate Certificate program, offering students the opportunity to demonstrate their readiness for the initial Standard Professional I teaching license. A GPA of 3.0 or above in the graduate certificate coursework is required to be eligible for the student teaching/internship. Students are assigned to an appropriate classroom for a full-time, semester-long experience under the supervision of the classroom teacher and University faculty. Lateral entry teachers and teacher assistants must contact the Office of School and Community Partnerships to determine the appropriateness of their classroom for the student teaching/internship experience and licensure requirements. This contact should take place at least one semester before student teaching. The prerequisite for the student teaching/internship is completion of all program coursework, a GPA of 3.0 or above, an application for the course by the established deadline, and approval of the department.
Clinical Field Experiences
  • All courses require students to develop their knowledge, skills, and dispositions in public school/agency settings. During the Graduate Certificate in Elementary Education program, all students are expected to complete clinical experiences in at least three significantly different settings.
  • Clinical field experiences provide opportunities for helping all students learn, including children with exceptionalities and students from diverse ethnic/racial, linguistic, gender, and socioeconomic groups. During clinical experiences, students apply theories and understandings gained in coursework, analyze B-K student learning, and develop the ability to positively impact all learners. The first semester requires a minimum of 20 hours of clinical experiences.  The second semester requires a minimum of 20 hours of clinical experiences. The third semester requires a minimum of 10 hours of clinical experiences These structured experiences can take place in multiple settings such as neighboring schools or districts, after-school programs, or in the schools and classrooms in which the candidates work or are placed by the Office of School and Community Partnerships.
  • Candidates who are lateral entry teachers and teacher assistants must move beyond their own classrooms and schools for at least two clinical experiences. Alternative settings must be approved by the instructor. A limited number of clinical experiences may be approved in significantly different classrooms within their school of employment. Employed candidates are encouraged to seek assistance and support from their administrators.
  • To view the current program curriculum, please visit the website for the Teacher Education Advising and Licensure office.
*Rates are subject to change*


  • $288.82 per credit hour
  • $6,065.00 est. program cost

Outside of NC Non-Resident:

  • Not Applicable


  • $1,098.21 per credit hour
  • $23,062.00 est. program cost